It was the first time the Wild were to play with out stud defenseman Ryan Suter, whose Iron Man streak was snapped at 140 games. In stead the Wild felt that the best defense is a grea.... A goo... Well, at least they possessed the puck more than the Habs and just scored enough to win.
The scoring opened early - really early - 19 seconds in after Mikko Koivu won an offensive zone faceoff that Jason Zucker was able to gather up and fire a low percentage, bad-angle shot that rolled up and over Canadiens starter Carey Price. The Wild would not let up all period, out-shooting them 16-6 after one.
The Habs couldn't find a response in the second as the Wild continued to pressure hard and kept shooting a barrage of pucks on Price. The Wild went 0-for-5 with the man-advantage, but their second goal was a result of some decent zone time after the power play. Recently called up Christian Folin (Fo-lynn? Fo-leen? Fall-in? No idea how to pronounce his name now) took a heavy wrist shot on goal that had Jason Pominville ducking for cover. the puck deflected off the shaft of Pominville's stick and into the net. Take a look at our Wild Highlights section for that one.
The Wild held a healthy 30-10 lead in shots after two periods.
Minnesota actually had 30 total shots through 11 minutes of the third period, and that included a five minute major power play.
Montreal came out of the locker room with a little more life and started getting a few more shots on Darcy Kuemper, who had been untested for much of the game, got a little more action. All game long, Kuemper chose not to mess around with the puck and chose to freeze everything that came his way. All was good until two minutes left in the game when Montreal pulled Price for the man-advantage. They were able to push and got good zone time as the Wild failed to clear the zone. Alex Galchenyuk was able to gobble up a loose puck in the crease to cut the lead to one with two ticks under a minute remaining.
It was a tense 58 seconds, but the Wild were able to hold on for the win. It was a big win. The power play was awful. The Wild let the Habs back in to the game. Ryan Suter didn't play, but the defensemen stepped up to play big minutes and played really well. It was weird that the goals scored were extremely flukey for a team putting up 35 shots on goal.
The Wild host the Ducks on Friday night as they continue with this homestand.